Authors Posts by Victoria Espinoza

Victoria Espinoza

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Victoria Espinoza is the editor of the Times of Huntington & Northport. She once broke her elbow trying to eat a cookie.

A 12-year-old boy was killed as a result of a boating accident in Centerport July 18. File Photo

A sailing lesson ended in tragedy Tuesday afternoon, July 18, as a 12-year-old boy died after injuries from a boat propeller in Centerport.

According to the Suffolk County Police Department, three children, all wearing life vests, were taking part in a sailing lesson when their boat was capsized as a controlled part of the lesson, at the Centerport Yacht Club, located on Beach Plum Drive at approximately 2:55 p.m.

A 12-year-old boy was receiving sailing instructions when he fell into the water.  An 18-year old instructor who was operating a small Zodiac inflatable boat was able to pull the child from the water and onto the Zodiac. The child was seated on the side of the Zodiac when the instructor started to move forward. The boy again fell into the water and became entangled in the propeller of the Zodiac. The instructor immediately entered the water to render aid. He and another instructor were able to pull the child onto another boat and began CPR. On shore other EMT’s assisted until a paramedic from the Centerport Fire Department responded. The child was transported to Huntington Hospital where he died from his injuries. An instructor was also admitted to Huntington Hospital for shock. The other children did not receive medical aid.

Second Precinct detectives are investigating the incident.

 

File photo

Suffolk County Police Second Squad detectives are investigating a motor vehicle crash that killed a pedestrian in Huntington Friday July 15.

Police said Jacklyn Henderson was traveling along Cove Road just west of Bayview Drive when she was struck by a 2005 Mazda heading east, at approximately 4:25 p.m. Henderson, 27 a California resident was transported to Huntington Hospital where she was pronounced dead. The driver of the car, Corey Mann, 23, of Northport, remained at the scene and was not injured.

The vehicle was impounded for a safety check.  The investigation is continuing. Detectives are asking anyone with information on this crash to call the 2nd Squad at 631-854-8252.

Joseph Gallo was arrested for robbing a Nesconset gas station. Photo from SCPD.

A man wielding a machete who allegedly robbed a gas station in Nesconset was arrested Monday, July 17.

Suffolk County Police said Joseph Gallo allegedly entered BP gas station located on Smithtown Boulevard July 10 at 9:28 p.m., displayed a machete and demanded money from an employee. The employee complied and the suspect fled with cash eastbound on Smithtown Boulevard.

Fourth Squad detectives obtained video and distributed a description of the suspect. A 4th Precinct officer recognized Gallo at the corner of Smithtown Boulevard and Metzner Road in Ronkonkoma, New York, July 14 at approximately 5:50 p.m. and arrested him.

Fourth Squad detectives charged Gallo, 50, a Ronkonkoma resident with first-degree robbery. He will be held overnight at the 4th Precinct and is scheduled for arraignment at First District Court in Central Islip July 16. No attorney information was immediately available.

Bar owner, patrons recall paranormal occurrences at Katie’s on Main Street

The stairway leading to the basement of Katie’s bar in Smithtown. Photo by Kevin Redding.

By Kevin Redding

If there’s something strange in your neighborhood bar, chances are you’re at Katie’s on West Main Street in Smithtown — where ghostly happenings are just as normal as ordering a drink.

The two-floor pub and live music venue, which sits on the grounds of the old Trainor Hotel that burned down in 1909, has long been a hotbed for spooky sightings and experiences according to its staff and patrons. The bar’s high level of spectral activity has even been featured on episodes of popular paranormal shows like Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures,” A&E’s “Paranormal State” and the Biography Channel’s “My Ghost Story.”

Dominique Maciejka, a former bartender at the establishment, said she had her fair share of brushes with the bar’s spirited regulars.

“I was by myself closing up, the music was off, nobody else was around, and a beer bottle cap went flying from one side of the bar to the other, like, sideways across the room,” Maciejka said, recalling one such freaky occurrence at the end of a night shift in fall 2011.

“I was the only person around so there was no explanation, nothing that could’ve triggered that … other than something supernatural,” she said. “On the way home, I called my mom and asked her to stay on the phone with me.”

She was also working when a soda gun behind the bar seemingly flung out of its holster on its own and dropped to the floor, an incident captured on the bar’s security cameras.

Gary Bates, from Smithtown, said he once saw what he described as “a big, gray, seven-foot tall” figure walk from one end of the bar counter to the other.

Another time, Bates said he was walking in the empty bar and felt the sensation of stepping into a large spider web even though there was no physical one in sight, and was then suddenly poked in the arm.

“There’s definitely something weird going on there,” Bates said of the Smithtown nightspot.

Owner Brian Karppinen believes the bar might be haunted. Photo by Kevin Redding.

Over the years, folks who frequent Katie’s have reported a wide range of eerie activity: distorted faces taking shape in the bar’s mirrors, hearing voices in empty rooms, feeling like they were being watched by unseen presences, seeing transparent children in the background of selfies and group pictures and having whatever may be haunting the place follow them home.

None of these reported occurrences  come as a surprise to Katie’s owner.

“The whole place is active,” said Brian Karppinen, 53, who has owned the bar since 2000. He pointed out that while the bar’s lively upstairs tends to be occupied by mischievous and relatively harmless ghosts, the basement billiards area is where he thinks more sinister ones roam. “Down there is a darker feeling, a heaviness — not as fun. You feel, spiritually, like something is not nice down there.”

Karppinen recalled a night in which a tough biker went downstairs to confront one of the malevolent spirits, stood in what was considered the basement’s most active spot by the pool table and was violently punched in the stomach by an invisible force.

“If he faked it, it would be amazing, but that seemed real,” Karppinen said, making clear he takes a lot of people’s reports with a grain of salt. “He hobbled out of here and I’ve never seen him again.”

While there are a number of theories from various paranormal and psychic groups that have explored the bar hoping to identify the ghosts, Karppinen said little concrete evidence has emerged from such explorations.

Some say the ghosts are past Smithtown residents who may have died in the Trainor Hotel fire, while others are convinced the more evil spirits could be Jinns, a Middle Eastern poltergeist that has purportedly existed before any religion.

However, one of the more mischievous ghosts that has become a sort of celebrity at Katie’s is widely thought to be Charlie Klein, a Prohibition-era bootlegger and part owner of the Smithtown Hotel in the 1920s, which is now Croxley’s Ale House.

According to members of the Smithtown Historical Society, Klein shot himself in his house in 1933 after serving a prison sentence. Klein’s house, Karppinen said, is directly across the street from the bar.

Brad Harris, the historical society’s president, said even though he’s never personally experienced any of the bar’s hauntings, he doesn’t think they’re made up.

“I don’t think it’s a figment of anybody’s imagination as there does seem to be strange occurrences happening there,” Harris said. “We have always had problems trying to explain why Charlie Klein’s ghost would be disturbing the bar, as he didn’t kill himself there, but it’s a strange world.”

Even stranger, Karppinen said, was when members of the Pennsylvania State University “Paranormal State” group were investigating the basement and one of them pointed to the end of the bar and said, “that’s where your ghost died — right there.”

“I said, ‘no he didn’t, he died across the street, he killed himself,’” Karppinen recalled. “And he said, ‘no … I used to be a DJ here in the early ’80s and there was an old timer who used to drink and would fall asleep at the bar. We would wake him up, get him a cab, and we would send him home every night. One night, he didn’t wake up and he died at the bar.’”

The corner of Katie’s many patrons believe is the habitat of the bar’s more sinister spirits. Photo by Kevin Redding

Karppinen said weird and unexplainable occurrences have surrounded him all his life and “it really seemed like I was called here.”

It was when the Lake Grove resident was driving to his girlfriend’s house one day, he said, that something told him to go visit his friend, Rich, who owned a struggling bar called Wolfgang’s Pub.

Sure enough, his instincts were right and Rich was in rough shape, depressed that his business was losing money and claiming the place was “cursed.” He asked Karppinen to be his partner and help out. Rich retired from the bar business soon after and Karppinen renamed the place after his grandmother, Katie Dunagan.

Naturally, for Karppinen, it didn’t take long before things got phantasmic.

Once, while jostling with a rotted door at the top of a steep stairwell in the bar, Karppinen lost his balance and felt himself teetering backward when, he said, “I felt two things grab my shoulder blades and upright me. I was like, ‘wow, whoever that is, thank you.’ I got the vibe it might have been my dad or a passed away family member. It was not a spooky vibe at all.”

“I think it’s some kind of a package deal that maybe this place was active and they wanted me here,” Karppinen said, laughing. “[I think] the darker thing attracted me and likes that I never really thrive. There’s times when I’m behind in bills and I’m like ‘I’m selling the place’ and then something comes through and suddenly we have money for bills again. It almost seems like they love the torture, but don’t want me to leave.”

Unless you own a corporate bar, Karppinen said, the bar business is a dying industry, but the ghosts have helped bring traffic to Katie’s.

“People love to talk about it, people know us all over, it has definitely helped,” Karppinen said. “That and our live music. Sometimes people are jerks and they’ll come in drunk from another place, like, ‘I wanna see the ghost!’ and, spiritually, I have no idea what’s going on here … so I try not to let that happen. I don’t want to torture these [dead] people more.”

Asked what he would say to any skeptics out there, Karppinen said, “I would tell them I’m not here to debate you. I don’t believe a lot of the [stuff] people say happened here, but some of it is very hard to explain.”

Legislators DuWayne Gregory and Leslie Kennedy smile with young Suffolk residents. Photo from Leg. Gregory’s office

By Victoria Espinoza

Beneath the sunny rays in Smithtown’s Blydenburgh County Park June 29, Suffolk County Legislator and Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) announced a new program to celebrate Suffolk’s youth community.

The Distinguished Youth Award program is meant to promote and recognize the achievements and initiatives in service of Suffolk County’s youngest contributing members.

The program is open to county residents between the ages of 13 and 18, and registrants will work with local officials throughout the course of a year to lay out plans and goals that touch on volunteerism, personal development, exploration of Suffolk County, and physical fitness.

Gregory announced the program alongside young residents who have already registered, and with colleague, Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset).

“Suffolk County is lucky to be home to so many wonderful young people who have distinguished themselves in many ways.”

— William Spencer

“The goal in establishing this program is to encourage young people to become well-rounded and engaged in local issues and initiatives,” Gregory said. “Our young people are our future. This program is one way to build a foundation on which these young adults can continue to develop a connection to their communities, to understand their needs, and to explore solutions. We are encouraging them to be leaders whose roots are firmly planted in Suffolk County.”

According to Gregory’s office, the program is modeled after the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, and challenges participants to take part in two or more program categories: volunteer service, personal development, exploration of Suffolk County parks, and physical fitness. Medals will be awarded to participants based on the number of categories in which they engage  as part of their individual challenge. The bronze medal will be awarded to teens that successfully complete two of the four program areas. The silver medal will be awarded to participants who complete three of the four program areas. The gold medal, which signifies the highest achievement, will recognize participants who complete their established goals in all four program areas.

Fellow legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) co-sponsored the resolution.

“Suffolk County is lucky to be the home to so many wonderful young people who have distinguished themselves in many ways,” Spencer said in a statement. “It will be a great honor to recognize them individually.”

Kennedy echoed the sentiments.

“In Suffolk County we have many accomplished young men and women,” she said at the event. “The Distinguished Youth Award will foster an environment where our youth will continue to accomplish great things, and grow into civically minded adults.”

Registration forms are available online on the Suffolk County Legislature’s Distinguished Youth Award program’s web page at legis.suffolkcountyny.gov/DYA.html. They can also be mailed to Suffolk County Legislature Distinguished Youth Award, Office of the Presiding Officer, Suffolk County Legislature, P.O. Box 6100 – Bldg. 20, Hauppauge, NY 11788-0099.

Huntington riders may experience some problems with upcoming station work. File photo by Rohma Abbas

Huntington Long Island Rail Road commuters may face some additional strain in their usual commute in the coming weeks.

The elevator at the South Parking Garage at the Huntington LIRR station is now out of service and is being replaced, with construction that began July 11. According to a press release from the town, this project is “much-needed,” to increase the reliability, safety and comfort for those who regularly use the elevator. The town said it estimates that the elevator will be out of service for about four months, with construction wrapping in November.

“We realize that no matter what the alternative, riders will be inconvenienced,” the press release said. “Please be assured that our contractor will endeavor to complete the project as quickly as possible.”

In an effort to make the change as painless as possible, the town asked for input from residents to help create options for those who, because of physical handicaps, find the elevator necessary.

“I guess we should consider ourselves lucky that we’re not on the first page of Newsday, but we do have real problems,” Georgina White, a Huntington resident said at the June town meeting where the input was gathered. “This is really a hardship. I did go online and take the survey, but the proposed suggestions are really poor. The handicapped and the elderly, and the people with strollers are going to be held. I suggest that you try to put the shuttle, that’s handicapped accessible, from 6 a.m. to 12 a.m. It needs to happen.

She acknowledged the elevator has had a lot of issues in recent years, including breakdowns and filth, and commended the town for finally getting a new elevator. But She encouraged the town to improve its ways of getting the motive out, as she feared not enough residents realized the changes that were going to soon occur.

Based on those responses and the town’s recommendations, the following actions will be taken:

1. The town has added handicapped parking spaces on both sides of the tracks. On the north side, the additional spaces are on ground level in the parking garage. On the south side, the additional spaces are on level 2 of the parking garage. Both locations will provide easy access to the handicapped ramps. If at all possible, the town suggests users should try to arrange their trip so eastbound and westbound trips depart and arrive on the same track. Information on which platforms trains usually depart from or arrive on is contained in the full Port Jefferson line LIRR schedule.

2. Consider alternate stations. In particular, parking is available at the Northport station, which has only one track.

3. A town Public Safety vehicle will be available at the station during peak hours — 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 to 9 p.m. — to transport persons with disabilities from one side of the tracks to the other. To arrange a ride during those or other times, call Public Safety at 631-351-3234. Riders can call from the train to make Public Safety aware of their need in advance.

4. The town has reached out to the LIRR and asked that announcements about track changes be made as early as possible, so commuters will know if there is an issue before they board the train.

5. If a rider has questions or a problem, they should call the Department of Transportation and Traffic Safety at 631-351-3053.

“I appreciate all you’re trying to do,” White said. “Could we work together to communicate some better things for people in our town?”
After she spoke at the meeting, Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) thanked her for her suggestions and encouraged her to meet with the town’s director of transportation to continue a dialogue.
The news adds to rider woes, as those dealing with Huntington’s maintenance may also be delayed by Long Island Rail Road work at Pennsylvania Station.

Image from Airbnb

By Victoria Espinoza

Weary travelers to the Huntington area might have a harder time finding a place to lay their head.

Earlier in 2017 Huntington’s town board announced a plan to restrict and possibly ban Airbnb users in the community, and at the June town board meeting the new rules were unveiled.

At the January meeting residents gave overwhelming support for the use of Airbnb, an online marketplace that facilitates short-term leases and rentals for travelers, and said it not only benefits users, but also brings money back into the town. Overall users said they were happy to see a ban was no longer being considered, though they were still critical of certain restrictions.

“Unlike other types of lodgings such as national hotel chains, 97 percent of revenue generated through Airbnb goes directly to our hosts who plow it back into the Empire State economy,” Jeffrey Sellers, a community organizer at Airbnb said during the meeting. “The vast majority of these New York hosts, 56 percent of whom are women, are individuals and families who share their homes occasionally to pay for their mortgage, medicine, student loans, or save for retirement. The typical host in New York earns about $5,400 in supplemental income by sharing their home for fewer than three nights a month.”

The resolution with new rules for Airbnb hosts was drafted by Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) and includes limits on advertising, parking and total number of days for guests.

The proposed legislation provides that it’s unlawful for a short-term rental to be in use if the property is not owner-occupied; advertisements must only be filed after the owner has obtained the proper short-term rental permits; it’s unlawful to post signage on the property for advertising purposes; and no property owner can lease their short-term rental for more than 120 days out of the year.

“With the backdrop of public safety, quality of life, and property rights this legislation strikes a balance between someone who plays ‘host’ versus the rights of neighbors to these uses who have an expectation that they live in a residential area.”
—Marc Cuthbertson

Philip Giovanelli, a Cold Spring Harbor resident and Airbnb host said he finds the 120-day limit to be particularly restrictive.

“From a business point of view, it’s possible that if you’re successful that you limit your ability to have guests during the holidays,” Giovanelli said at the meeting. “I wouldn’t want to have to turn down any scientists, particularly a cancer researcher or a DNA researcher because I only have three days left on my calendar.”

Giovanelli suggested a document or form hosts could file if they wanted to extend their limit.

Tara Collier, a Huntington resident and Airbnb host said she also finds the limit to be a problem.

“Huntington is a beautiful place, so let’s share it,” she said at the meeting. “I find that a rental for only one third of the year is quite restrictive and I hope that you will remove it possibly. Maybe there could be a range of different fees you could pay? I would be willing to work with that, I think that would be fair.”

Cuthbertson responded to hosts’ concerns at the meeting.

“You have what is essentially a commercial use which is now going to be allowed in a residential area, and we’re trying to respect the rights of the neighbors who we’re going to say [to them] for 120 days of the year you can operate a commercial entity but we don’t want it to be a lot more than that,” he said. “Is it an arbitrary number? Yes, it is somewhat of an arbitrary number but it’s a number that we think is fair.”

The councilman said in an email finding a balance between hosts and their neighbors is the main objective.

“We have listened to the valuable feedback from the recent public hearing and considered all suggestions and concerns,” Cuthbertson said. “ With the backdrop of public safety, quality of life, and property rights this legislation strikes a balance between someone who plays ‘host’ versus the rights of neighbors to these uses who have an expectation that they live in a residential area.”

Legislators DuWayne Gregory and Leslie Kennedy smile with young Suffolk residents. Photo from Leg. Gregory’s office

Beneath the sunny rays in Smithtown’s Blydenburgh County Park June 29, Suffolk County Legislator and Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) announced a new program to celebrate Suffolk’s youth community.

The Distinguished Youth Award program is meant to promote and recognize the achievements and initiatives in service of Suffolk County’s youngest contributing members.

The program is open to county residents between the ages of 13 and 18, and registrants will work with local officials throughout the course of a year to lay out plans and goals that touch on volunteerism, personal development, exploration of Suffolk County, and physical fitness.

Gregory announced the program alongside young residents who have already registered, and with colleague, Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset).

“The goal in establishing this program is to encourage young people to become well-rounded and engaged in local issues and initiatives,” Gregory said at the press event. “Our young people are our future. This program is one way to build a foundation on which these young adults can continue to develop a connection to their communities, to understand their needs, and to explore solutions. We are encouraging them to be leaders whose roots are firmly planted in Suffolk County.”

According to Gregory’s office, the program is modeled after the Congressional Youth Leadership Council, and challenges participants to take part in two or more program categories: volunteer service, personal development, exploration of Suffolk County parks, and physical fitness. Medals will be awarded to participants based on the number of categories in which they engage  as part of their individual challenge. The bronze medal will be awarded to teens that successfully complete two of the four program areas. The silver medal will be awarded to participants who complete three of the four program areas. The gold medal, which signifies the highest achievement, will recognize participants who complete their established goals in all four program areas.

Fellow legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) co-sponsored the resolution.

“Suffolk County is lucky to be the home to so many wonderful young people who have distinguished themselves in many ways,” Spencer said in a statement. “It will be a great honor to recognize them individually.”

Kennedy echoed the sentiments.

“In Suffolk County we have many accomplished young men and women,” she said at the event. “The Distinguished Youth Award will foster an environment where our youth will continue to accomplish great things, and grow into civically minded adults.”

Registration forms are available online on the Suffolk County Legislature’s Distinguished Youth Award program’s web page at legis.suffolkcountyny.gov/DYA.html. They can also be mailed to Suffolk County Legislature Distinguished Youth Award, Office of the Presiding Officer, Suffolk County Legislature, P.O. Box 6100 – Bldg. 20, Hauppauge, NY 11788-0099.

A scene from a health care vigil held in Huntington on the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street last week. Photo from Legislator Spencer’s office

Huntington doctors, legislators and community members gathered last Wednesday, June 28 for a health care vigil to protest and call for improvements to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the U.S. Senate’s answer to the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Although a vote for the bill was rescheduled until after the July Fourth recess, Republican senators have been working to swiftly pass their health care bill, which was passed in the House in May, and has been met with criticism.

The Congressional Budget Office has projected that over a decade, some 22 million fewer people would be insured compared to those currently covered under the ACA.

Huntington residents, concerned they will be uninsured and unable to care for themselves and their loved ones if the Senate bill is passed, attended the event.

Dr. Eve Meltzer-Krief, a pediatrician who works in Huntington village, has worked to organize many events encouraging Americans to speak out against the proposed health care bill.

“As a physician, it’s important to show we’re coming together against this bill,” Meltzer-Krief said in a phone interview. “I think it’s a terrible bill — it’s the opposite of what Robin Hood does.”

A scene from a health care vigil held in Huntington on the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street last week. Photo from Legislator Spencer’s office

The Huntington doctor said much of the public has fundamental misunderstandings about who Medicaid helps, and cuts to funding could be disastrous for many Long Islanders. The proposed Senate bill would rein in future growth of Medicaid spending — amounting to about $770 billion less funding over the course of a decade.

“Children, the elderly, the disabled, low-income families, they are the people who rely on Medicaid,” Meltzer-Krief said. “[These cuts] would affect so many people, it would hurt so many people. It’s an unethical bill and fundamentally wrong.”

Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William Spencer (D-Centerport) was in attendance for the event. Spencer is an ear, nose and throat physician.

“I felt it was important to attend because the crux of my passion for public office is to give a voice to the population that doesn’t have the voice,” Spencer said in a phone interview. “The disabled, children, the unemployed, they often don’t have a platform. This bill has the potential to change the lives of millions of people.”

Spencer said a bill this important needs input from both sides of the aisle: “This should be a bipartisan issue, these decisions shouldn’t be rushed in a back room.”

The legislator said it was very powerful to see the community reach out at the vigil, and see all walks of life attend including men and women, old and young, disabled residents, different races, and gay and straight people.

Meltzer-Krief said the proposed changes to states’ responsibilities to cover essential health benefits will affect all kinds of people, like women relying on maternity care and people dealing with drug addiction.

“The timing with how substance abuse is on the rise … it’s really terrible,” she said. “There are a lot of dangerous things about this bill. Every doctor and health organization I’ve talked to is against this bill. You should listen to your doctors when it comes to patient care, not [13] men behind closed doors.”

New York Sens. Chuck Schumer (D) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D) have both said they are against the Senate version of this bill and would not vote for it.

Drugs recovered thanks to tips from Crime Stoppers. File photo from SCPD

By Victoria Espinoza

The fight against substance abuse among young people on the North Shore and around Suffolk County is set to enter the 21st century.

Suffolk County Legislator and Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) launched efforts for the county to develop a smartphone application at the June 20 legislative meeting that will provide users with quick and easy access to drug addiction services. It will also provide information on how to recognize and prevent opioid overdoses for families who are struggling with how to protect their loved ones.

“This mobile app will literally put life-saving information directly into the hands of those who need it most,” Gregory said at a press conference in Hauppauge last week. “There is a desperate need for instant access to addiction resources. Just a few weeks ago, 22 people over a two-day span overdosed on opioids in Suffolk. There are so many valuable resources and programs in our county, and we must do all we can to make it easier for those battling substance abuse to reach out for help.”

The app will provide locations of nearby hospitals and treatment centers, links to organizations and support hotlines and information on training to administer Narcan, an overdose reversal medication.

Gregory said he believes the app will be a worthwhile endeavor given the recent launch of New York City’s mobile app, Stop OD NYC, which provides overdose prevention education and connects individuals with local programs. According to his office, Suffolk officials are considering modeling Suffolk’s own app after the city’s version and have been in touch with city health officials as they look to develop the proposal request.

Suffolk County Health Commissioner James Tomarken said the addition of the app is another powerful weapon to use in the ongoing battle against drug addiction.

“Substance abuse affects everyone in the community,” he said at the event. “An application that consolidates information that can be accessed from anywhere on a mobile device offers one more tool in our toolkit for dealing with this public health crisis.”

Suffolk County Community Mental Hygiene Services Director Ann Marie Csorny agreed, saying this idea makes the most sense for the younger generation.

“Today’s youth have come to rely heavily on their smartphones, so putting substance abuse information into a format that is easily accessible to them makes sense,” she said.

Suffolk County is no stranger to the nation’s growing opioid problem. In 2014 Suffolk had the highest number of overdose deaths involving heroin of all New York counties and had the most overdose deaths where prescription opioids were a factor, according to a 2016 New York State Comptroller’s report.

Donna DiBiase, founder and executive director of A2R Magazine, a publication related to journeys in addiction and recovery said branching out to new platforms like cellphones are crucial to winning the fight.

“A mobile app of this nature could be a vital resource at a time when we are losing our next generation to this epidemic,” she said in a statement. “There isn’t a person that I meet who doesn’t know someone — a neighbor, a family member, a friend — who has been touched by this disease. Empowerment and education is so important, and we need to continue to find ways to get information to those who are struggling with addiction, whether it be through an app, a hotline or a magazine.”

The resolution was filed by Gregory at the June 20 meeting and will go before the Health Committee July 20.

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